-->''"The cloven hoofprint burned into the floor told her everything she needed to know. The devil had finally come for Jeremy Grove."''

''Brimstone'' is a novel by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child first published in 2004. It is part of their informal [[Literature/AgentPendergast Agent Pendergast series]] and the first novel in the Diogenes trilogy.

A string of murders among the wealthy and elite draws Pendergast to investigate. When the cause of death seems to be burning from the ''inside'', and satanic images appear at the deaths, people begin to wonder if the devil really has appeared in modern day New York and is collecting his dues.

!!This novel provides examples of:

* AffablyEvil: [[spoiler: Count Fosco]].
* AssholeVictim: [[spoiler: Fosco]] points out that the people he killed were wastes of humanity and he probably did the world a favor.
* BiggerBad: Diogenes. The very second Pendergast gets a letter from his brother, he uncharacteristically panics, as no matter what goes wrong with the current case it pales in comparison to what Diogenes has planned. [[spoiler: And then Diogenes turns out to have been at Fosco's estate during the climax, and frees Pendergast from the wall he was trapped in at the very end.]]
* BuriedAlive: [[spoiler: Fosco walls up Pendergast at the end of the novel, which he admits is "[[Literature/TheCaskOfAmontillado something out of]] [[Creator/EdgarAllanPoe Poe]]." Pendergast is subsequently freed by Diogenes.]]
* TheBusCameBack: D'Agosta has returned from his failed writing career and had to take a job that bumps him down two ranks to Sergeant. Laurea Hayward also returns after her first appearance in ''Literature/{{Reliquary}}''
* TheButlerDidIt: [[spoiler: Fosco's butler committed half of the murders so the Count could provide an alibi]].
* TheCasanova: The last musician known to have the Stormcloud was a notorious womanizer. He succumbed to brain damage caused by syphilis, went crazy and fled the owners of the violin.
* CelebrityParadox: Count Fosco mentions reading ''Literature/TheWomanInWhite''...despite being [[ShoutOut a full blown reference]] to a character from that novel.
* ChekhovsSkill: Count Fosco's tinkering. D'Agosta's brushing up on his shooting skills.
* TheChessmaster: [[spoiler: Fosco]] plans every minute detail to deliver master strokes at any possibility.
* ContinuityNod: At one point Pendergast and D'Agosta have to question a group of impoverished men, and recall their meeting with Mephisto in ''Literature/{{Reliquary}}''
* DiscOneFinalBoss: The first half of the novel has Bullard acting as the main antagonist before [[spoiler: killing him and revealing Fosco as the BigBad, having been manipulating Bullard's actions]].
* EarlyBirdCameo: [[spoiler: D'Agosta unknowingly sees [[Literature/DanceOfDeath Diogenes]] while escaping his pursuers. Diogenes then rescues Pendergast in the epilogue]].
* FormerlyFit: At the beginning of the novel, D'Agosta is not in the physical condition he used to be, and his aim is rusty. [[spoiler: He gets himself back together by the end.]]
* GaiasVengeance: Von Menck believes the murders are a predictor that a natural correction is coming to wipe the corruption of the world away. [[spoiler: This is a RedHerring.]]
* HoistByHisOwnPetard: D'Agosta sneaks back to [[spoiler: Fosco's mansion]] and [[spoiler: kills him with the microwave death ray he used for his {{plan}}]].
* HumanShield: Bullard's mooks strategically position a bunch of kids as a human shield against the Chinese. [[spoiler: [[WouldHurtAChild They don't care]]]].
* ItWasHereISwear: [[spoiler: When D'Agosta brings the Italian police back to Fosco's estate, every bit of evidence he and Pendergast had been there has been erased. The count even manages to apply ''cobwebs'' to the room they had supposedly stayed in and engraves his own family crest onto Pendergast's necklace.]]
* LaserHallway: The security system surrounding Bullard's factory. Aside from motion and weight sensors at the fence and booby traps throughout, an entire field is equipped with lasers that Pendergast and D'Agosta must crawl through (Pendergast using cigarette smoke to identify where the beam is). The space for them to avoid the beams is [[JustifiedTrope justified]], as wild boar roam the area and the grid is specifically designed to pass over their backs and trip for a walking man.
* LoveAtFirstSight: [[spoiler:Pendergast and Viola are both taken with each other upon their first meeting. It's obvious enough that D'Agosta immediately catches on just by looking at them.]]
* MacGuffin: The killer is after [[spoiler: the Stradivarius violin, Stormcloud]].
* MadScientist: [[spoiler: Fosco and his tinkering, which becomes much more sinister]].
* MasterOfDisguise: Pendergast shows up on the scene of the first murder dressed like a tourist and D'Agosta takes quite some time to recognize him.
* MilesToGoBeforeISleep: [[spoiler: Pendergast begs Fosco to let him go. Not for his own life, but so he can save the world from Diogenes. He even swears he'll return and let the count kill him once he is done.]]
* NearVillainVictory: [[spoiler: Count Fosco very nearly gets away with everything. He is only stopped by two things. First is that he underestimates the tenacity of D'Agosta, which leads to his own death. Second is his unawareness of Diogenes, who frees Pendergast.]]
* NoBisexuals: Averted and lampshaded by Pendergast when an officer at Jeremy Groves' murder scene describes the fact that he "liked men and women" as "perverse sexual tendencies." Pendergast points out that ''thirty percent'' of all men have some bisexual tendencies.
* NoMisterBondIExpectYouToDine: [[spoiler: Fosco]] invites Pendergast and D'Agosta to stay the night (which he won't allow them to refuse) and then explains his entire plan and it's execution over dinner.
* OneWordTitle: As the etymology of "Brimstone" is likely as a fusion of Old English for "Burning" and "Stone", it relates to the deaths of people in the novel, where the cause of death seems to be burning from the ''inside'', and satanic images appear at the deaths.
* OurHeroIsDead: [[spoiler:Fosco walls Pendergast up in his castle and everyone assumes he must have died]].
* PoliteVillainsRudeHeroes: [[spoiler: Fosco]] VS D'agosta.
* {{Portmantitle}}: As the etymology of "Brimstone" is likely as a fusion of Old English for "Burning" and "Stone", it relates to the deaths of people in the novel, where the cause of death seems to be burning from the ''inside'', and satanic images appear at the deaths.
%% Administrivia/ZeroContextExample, and an Appearance Trope: PurpleEyes: Constance Green is described as having violet eyes.
* RedHerring: [[spoiler: Several characters believe that the murders are the sign of an impending apocalypse hitting New York City. Needless to say, it does not happen.]]
* ScoobyDooHoax: [[spoiler: Fosco orchestrated all the murders as a way to scare Bullard into thinking the Devil was coming to collect his soul so he would "sacrifice" the violin and Fosco could get his hands on it]].
* TheReasonYouSuckSpeech: Delivered by Hayward to Buck.
--> "Mr. Buck? If you don't mind, there's something personal I'd like to say to you... First of all, there's only one Jesus and you aren't Him. Another thing: I'm a Christian, and I try to be a good one, although I may not always succeed. You had no right to stand there when I was at the mercy of that crowd, point your finger at me, and pass judgement. You should take a good look at that passage in the Gospel of Matthew: ''Judge not, that ye be not judged... Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.''... I always liked the King James Version the best. Now, listen. You worry about ''yourself'' from now on, being a good citizen, keeping out of trouble, and obeying the law... If there's a Second Coming in the works, you sure as heck won't get advance notice - that much I ''do'' know... Farewell, Mr. Buck. Keep your nose clean."
* SeriousBusiness: [[spoiler: Fosco ''really'' just wanted his violin back]]. Though the MacGuffin in question would have originally been put to use [[spoiler: in helping the Chinese [[ItMakesSenseInContext develop a stealth missile]]]].
* ShoutOut:
** As indicated in an author's note at the end of the book, Count Fosco is named after and based on a character from ''Literature/TheWomanInWhite''. Which creates a minor CelebrityParadox, see above.
** At one point, D'Agosta introduces himself as [[Literature/TheShining Jack Torrance]].
* TheOnlyOneAllowedToDefeatYou: [[spoiler:Diogenes saves Pendergast in the epilogue]].
* TitleDrop:
** Pendergast finds brimstone at the scene of Jeremy Grove's murder and notes that it is "good Old Testament brimstone."
** Latter on, the FBI file on the case is shown to be named ''Brimstone''.
* UnwittingPawn: [[spoiler: Bullard was being manipulated by Fosco the whole time into recovering his aforementioned violin.]]
* VillainousBreakdown: [[spoiler: Count Fosco once he's hit with his own microwave machine. He ironically hallucinates the devil coming for him before he dies. ([[MaybeMagicMaybeMundane Or was he hallucinating?]])]]
* WhyDontYouJustShootHim: [[spoiler: Fosco]] has the opportunity to shoot Pendergast and D'Agosta on multiple occasions near the end, but he wants to kill them in a more clever way. Although it is implied that he was going to have [[spoiler: his butler]] shoot them, if D'Agosta hadn't been fast enough to stop him.
* YourCheatingHeart: Although they're separated, D'Agosta is heartbroken to find his wife is having an affair...which is why he starts a relationship with Laura Hayward.